The coronavirus is growing again across Europe after restrictions were eased in many countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
There was an increase in weekly cases last week, “for the first time in months,” WHO Europe chief Henri Kluge told a news conference in Copenhagen.
Kluge said he warned of the “risk of re-shouting” as countries eased locking measures.
Thirty countries in Europe have seen an increase in cumulative cases in the past two weeks, he said.
Kluge added that the accelerated transmission to 11 countries “has led to a very significant resurgence that, if left unattended, will bring health systems back to the brink in Europe.”
“While the European region reports a reduced share of global cases than earlier in the year, the region continues to report close to 20,000 new cases and over 700 new deaths per day,” he said.
Kluge cited Poland, Germany and Spain as examples of countries reacting quickly to new Covid-19 epidemics in schools, coal mines and food production plants.
“Rapid and targeted interventions” by these countries have helped control transmission, a WHO official said.
Kluge also highlighted the role that digital technology can play in combating outbreaks.
“We need to be smarter in using the evidence and information we have from our Covid-19 surveillance systems,” he said.
Twenty-seven countries have published national solutions for digital contact search with solutions underway in places such as Portugal and Ireland.
Kluge also spoke about pilot artificial intelligence projects, including an Italian smartphone app that measures actual heart rate, oxygen saturation and real-time respiration.
According to Kluge, these digital technologies help health systems “cope with the provision of basic health care,” but he also warned that “digital health integration must be done carefully and wisely in partnership with the public and patients.”